Kat’s Bush Poetry – On the Wallaby

Continuing my posts of bush poetry from my pre-kids poetry days, today I’m sharing one inspired by our first caravan holiday. For sure, this was an express a stress poem, turning disaster into laughter; the time that hubby took us ‘On the Wallaby’.

On The Wallaby

It’s half the distance on the map – and I can drive on dirt.
We’ll save some time and fuel as well… What’s it gonna hurt?


The road was like an old tin shed; all corrugated rust,
that rattled teeth and eyeballs as it billowed clouds of dust.
A caravan we had in tow, pulled by a Commodore;
a brand-new, fam’ly kind of car – no bloomin’ four-by-four!
The stop ’n’ go bloke thought the rough stuff wouldn’t be for long.
He said the track got better but I tell you – he was wrong! Continue reading

Kat’s Bush Poetry – Flaming Fish & Chips

Before I wrote poetry for kids I wrote bush poetry – usually to express a stress about a somewhat climactic event in our lives; turning disaster into laughter. I haven’t written any bush poetry for years – but I’ve often thought I should go through my files and share some on my blog. A twitter conversation with Allayne Webster last night jogged my memory – so here is the first. Reason #1001 as to why I’ll never be a cook. Continue reading

Poetry Friday Round-up, 24th January 2020

Welcome to Australia (twice in the one month!) for another round-up of Poetry Friday. Since Sally hosted, a lot of Australia has received rain, so dust has settled, and many fires have also been checked back. But what a horrifying month it has been! And it is not over. Even as I write this post (Thursday), the news comes through of the large air tanker crash, killing 3 US crew members. And we are once again reminded of the many different ways people risk their lives in our service. And how precious – and fragile – life is. Continue reading

My Amber

My Amber

Imprinting your shape,
and texture
into the palm of my heart;
knobby horns,
forehead whirl,
and floppy dewlap.

Hands smooth across
sleek red hide,
eyes clouded by tears.

I inhale.

Hold time.

Breathe in the scent of you.

Each pat

   a memory,
   a caress,
   a pause;

‘I love you.’

‘My beautiful girl.’

'I love you.'

© Kathryn Apel December 2019

She was older than my boys – and lived in our home paddock almost as long as I have. She was my second bottle-reared calf (arriving two months after Cocoa), and for 23 years she has been just a roving glance away – a frequent visitor at the house for sweetest treats. She was our gentle giant; for many years, the fattest cow on the property, and the one cow I have never feared. Loved by many, she would happily exchange hay for pats – from family, friends and strangers.

And now, we’re shedding tears. And clinging to the memories … and a thousand photos of our beautiful Amber.

10 years of reading with Amber. Always her favourite book.

Teary hugs to my grazier husband who has shared the care of our Amber-girl, most especially in recent drought months during my extended author visits – where kids the world over have loved to hear about Amber the cow.

My beautiful Amber-girl. xx

Edit: Thank-you to my online friend Rachel, who I first met when she ordered a signed copy of ‘This is the Mud!’ because it was her daughter’s favourite book, and she’d worn it out! Rachel sent me this verse in response to my Instagram post – and I can tell she has read ‘This is the Mud’ many times. (Including tonight, in honour of Amber – when her girls wanted to know why she was crying, since it’s not a sad story! “See… she’s chewing her cud so that means she’s happy.”)

This is the author who smiles through her tears,
at the wonderful memories from 23 years,
of a happy old “Moo”, chewing her cud,
knowing how much she was ever so loved. ❤️

I cried buckets – and smiled some, too. Rachel, your poem will always be special! Thank-you! xx

American School Visits

November passed by in a blur for me, with three weeks in the USofA cram-packed with school visits and catch-ups with friends. I have a ToDo list the size of Mt Everest that I am still chipping away at, but I am determined to post for Poetry Friday – so here I am with pictures! And some words…but there are not enough words to express how wonderful those three weeks were! Continue reading

Gunnedah to Gayndah

This is a quick post to share some pics from my trip to Gunnedah last week, for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards Presentation Ceremony. I know many of my Poetry Friday friends are keen to see the winning poems – and if you click across to Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award Winners (my previous post), not only will you see the poems, but you’ll meet the amazing poets, too! For today – pics of Gunnedah! Thank-you to Laura from Writing the World for Kids for hosting our Poetry Friday round-up this week.

I arrived Wednesday evening, to run poetry workshops on Thursday for children from Gunnedah and surrounds. (There are so many sites and towns with delightful names, including the nearby Boggabri.) Thursday afternoon, award winners and the secondary judge (Meredith Costain) arrived – though there were some hiccups with delayed flights, lost luggage and a broken-down bus… But we still managed to squeeze in a whistle-stop tour of Gunnedah, which is a town that has so much to offer tourists! Two lovely lookouts – with amazing vistas. (Pensioners Hill also includes stone carvings which are impressive.) I tried twice for a pic with Dorothea on her horse, opposite the Mackellar Centre but alas, Thursday evening I was too rushed, and Friday morning, the wind was gusting… (I look a fright!) I’ll have to go back again to try a third time for a better pic. (Sentiment runs strong on this!) But you can spot Dorothea on horseback in the collage below. Continue reading

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award Winners

Last Friday I was in Gunnedah for the prestigious Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards Presentation Ceremony. It was an honour to be asked to judge the Primary category – and a joy to meet and mix with committee and community members, award winners, and their families. I am so proud of these amazing kids, and I’m thrilled to be able to share the winning poems and poets with you. (Shared with permission.) Continue reading